The disquieting tendency in South Korean cinema toward ever more senseless alpha-male violence is given a film-buffy spin in “Rough Cut,” scripted by local maverick Kim Ki-duk. Basically one long faceoff of competitive testosterone between a hardened gangster and a cocky actor, this first helming outing by Kim alum Jang Hun makes a small point about the worlds of real and fake violence colliding at a personal level. However, it also wallows, repetitively, in the world it supposedly critiques. Release last fall scored a warm 1.4 million admissions, partly due to the teen appeal of lead So Ji-seob.
Su-ta (Gang Ji-hwan), a short-fused actor who thinks he’s a tough guy, and Gang-pae (So), a real-life tough guy who’s always wanted to be an actor, meet in a nightclub. When Su-ta hospitalizes a stuntman, he asks Gang-pae to step into the production; the latter agrees on the condition that the violence isn’t faked, thereby testing Su-ta’s limits. Male perfs run the range of Korean male attitudinising, but even the memorable final slugfest is diminished by the foregoing violence. Tech package is standard; Korean title means “A Film Is a Film.”